Concern in Belize for the future of the vital sugar industry

San Juan, Dec. 27 (EFE) .- The sugar cane harvest began on Monday in Belize despite concerns over the lack of agreement between the two main players in this vital sector, which Prime Minister John Briceño urged to renew his treaty commercial.

According to Briceño, the Sugar Cane Producers Association (BSCFA, in English) and the Belize Sugar Industry (BSL, in English) have not reached a consensus to renew their trade agreement, which expires on January 19.

“For the moment, the two groups have not agreed on the terms of their long-term contract for the delivery, milling and marketing of the sugar cane, which is vital for the country,” he said. Briceño said in a letter sent to both groups.

In this letter, Briceño indicated that his administration presented some proposals for consideration to renew the contract and continue the harvest of sugar cane in the country.

Briceño asked the association of farmers and the industry to reach an agreement “in good faith” in January 2022 with the idea of ​​concluding a new treaty before April 30.

“If the trade agreement is not concluded by April 30, 2022, the interim treaty will expire and only associations that have concluded trade agreements will be able to deliver cane to factories,” he warned.

For its part, the Belize Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB) expressed its hope that this new agreement will be finalized.

SICB president Marcos Osorio called for a commitment “for the good of the industry and the cane producers”.

Belize’s estimated sugarcane production for 2021-2022 is 1,355,324 metric tonnes, an increase of 157,324 metric tonnes from last year’s production, according to official data.

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Rachel J. Bradford